Comedian Kiku Sharda, best known for his drag act as Palak in popular TV show “Comedy Nights With Kapil”, was today arrested by Haryana police on a complaint alleging he hurt religious sentiments by mocking Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Kiku, 40, was sent to 14-day judicial custody after police produced him before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Nandita Kaushik here. He was arrested from Mumbai by the Haryana Police.
Hours after Kiku’s remand, CJM Kaushik granted him bail in the evening on furnishing a bail bond of Rs one lakh.
The bail order came after the Dera head in a tweet said, “I was busy shooting OnlineGurukul; just got to know devotees are hurt due to Kiku’s action. If he has apologised, no complaint from my side.”
Kiku was booked on December 31 under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief).
A case was registered on the complaint of one Uday Singh, a follower of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda, police said here.
While talking to media after his arrest, Kiku apologised and said that he was an artist and “presented the programme on the directions of the TV channel and programme producers”.
“I was given a dress, script to read and directed to act,” he said, adding that he had been booked in this case but no action was taken against others including the TV channel which aired the show.
He said that his aim was only to entertain the public and not to hurt the religious feeling and sentiments of any person.
Dera followers had alleged that Kiku had hurt their religious sentiments by mimicking their sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in an episode of the TV show aired on December 27.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the state government has nothing to do with the arrest of Kiku.
“It is a matter of law and order. An FIR has been registered and police will take action accordingly,” he told reporters in Chandigarh. “The law will take its own course. No injustice will be done to anyone”.
Khattar, a BJP leader, was asked whether the arrest of the comedian did not amount to another instance of intolerance.
Kapil Sharma, the host and producer of “Comedy Nights With Kapil”, took to Twitter to express solidarity with Kiku.
“I request sant Ram Rahim Singh ji ‘INSAAN’ to come out in media in this case and set a beautiful example of humanity by supporting an artist, who is just working to spread happiness in the world. Come, let’s work together for happiness and peace,” Kapil said in a series of tweets.
The Dera followers had even protested against Kiku, who shot to fame with comedy show “FIR”, seeking action against him.